It was on Thursday the 17th of July, 2014 that Sparrow Defense hosted our first class. That class was "School Personnel Response to an Active Shooter." It was a mixture of classroom discussion, emergency medical training / practical exercises, and range time. That was the first full length course that I had written from scratch (with the help of Ben Ewing). The material was 100% my own, and I discarded any antiquated or nonsensical content that served only to glorify POST formatting guidelines or an agency SOP.
We ran that class for free, pouring time and what seemed like an endless supply of startup cash into the process. I remember the anxiety in the weeks leading up to the course as I made sure everything was planned out to the smallest detail. I learned to balance the reality of my full time job and the hobby that would grow into my passion. I learned a great deal about business, politics, jealousy, and teamwork.
It's been a year, and we've gone from a small unpaid hobby to a small and sustainable business. Over these 12 months I've had the opportunity to meet more than 200 individual shooters through classes and lessons. That number seems small until you remember that those are 200+ unique individuals of varying skill levels, confidence levels, and life experiences. Some had never touched a gun prior to training with me. Others had adopted bad habits and unsafe range practices that needed to be corrected before any further learning occurred. Some were instructors or accomplished shooters in their own right who gave me valuable feedback and insight into the teaching process. From each and every one of these individuals I took something away that made my technique more refined, more inclusive, and more adaptable. I have benefited greatly from this experience, and I in turn attempt to pass that on to future students.
As I look forward to Year 2 of Sparrow Defense, the company's commitment remains focused on the shooters who come to train with us. Our mission is to provide quality instruction in a small group setting. Students will never sit on a line with 20 other shooters. They will never be a number or a faceless income source. This business will never sacrifice the quality of instruction for expedience or profit. We do this because we're passionate about enabling shooters of any ability to reach the next level of their training. When you train with us, you'll get the same level of instruction I'd give my mother, wife, family, and friends. I'd want you to do the same if our roles were reversed, and I believe you should expect this from anyone who presumes to call himself or herself an instructor.
To all of you who have trained with me or who will train with me in the future: Thank you for making this possible.